Tooele Army Depot (TEAD) is a United States Army Joint Munitions Command post in Tooele County, Utah. It serves as a storage site for war reserve and training ammunition. TEAD is housed on 23,610 acres with 1,093 buildings, 902 igloos and storage capacity of 2,483,000 square feet .

The Tooele Ordnance Depot was activated in December 1942, occupying 24,732 acres near the city of Tooele, Utah. Originally part of the U.S. Army Depot System Command (DESCOM), its mission was to provide a reserve storage depot which would have the following responsibilities: store vehicles, small arms, and fire control equipment, and to overhaul and modify tanks and tracked vehicles.  

The Army chose the desert site near Tooele for four reasons: first, it was situated far enough inland from the West Coast to be defendable from attack by sea or air; second, the sandy loam soil of the area absorbed shocks--a necessary feature in case of accidental detonation or bombing; third, the site was adjacent to the Great Salt Lake Desert where ammunition, artillery pieces and vehicles in storage would be less vulnerable to ruse and corrosion in the dry climate, and finally, the site, which had been formerly used for sheep grazing, was uninhabited and with no existing structures. 

Blowing sands and shifting soils were immediately encountered by construction crews, hampering construction efforts and forcing delays and shutdowns. Despite these and other problems, the contract was completed by January 1943. The problem of shifting soils was not alleviated, however, until later that year when Utah State University personnel planted drought resistant grasses to prevent further erosion.

The Lanham Housing Project, known as Tooele Ordnance Depot Park, originally included permanent community facilities as well as housing. The quarters for the expanded World War II workforce included such amenities as a shopping center, a post office, and an elementary school. Six community buildings (Buildings 1001-1005) remain, but the housing units were declared excess following World War II and were either sold or demolished in the following years.

During WW2, the depot received and shipped a total of 40,946 railroad carloads of  ammunition supplies and salvage items, handling more than 1,625,000 tons of material. In addition, the depot overhauled or salvaged 997 major auto vehicles, 1,347 major artillery pieces, and 896 tanks. In 1949, the depot assumed command of the Deseret Chemical Depot.  

During the Korean War, the depot's major emphasis would shift from a storage unit to a manufacturing enterprise devoted to producing, rebuilding, and repairing military equipment. In 1952, TEAD was selected by Ordnance Ammunition Command (OAC) to develop Ammunition Peculiar Equipment (APE) for use in all depots munitions operations. 

In 1962, the depot was redesignated the Tooele Army Depot. Since that time the depot has been assigned maintenance mission responsibilities for topographic equipment, troop support items, construction equipment, generators, and various types of tactical wheeled vehicles. In 1964, TEAD assumed command and control of the non-tactical generator rail equipment repair facility located at Hill Air Force Base, Ogden, Utah. It was the sole facility in the country which provided such services. 

The establishment of the Ammo Equipment Office (AEO) at Tooele was the result of a careful study involving thorough analysis. AEO was changed to the Ammunition Equipment Directorate (AED) in 1981. This changed the status of the organization on the depot. The AED mission was now recognized as a valuable asset to the Tooele Army Depot and was included in depot planning and programs. 

In 1988, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommended that TEAD take over the general supply storage mission from Pueblo Depot Activity in Colorado. In 1993, BRAC recommended TEAD eliminate its troop support, maintenance, storage, and distribution missions. Since that decision, the Army completed the transfer of surplus property to the Redevelopment Agency of Tooele City (RDA). On January 19, 1999, the U.S. Army Materiel Command, Chief of Staff, Major General Normal E. Williams, presented a ceremonial deed commemorating the transfer of 1700 acres and 258 buildings to Tooele City. 

On September 28, 1999, another mark in Tooele Army Depot history took place. Once again the mission of the Defense Non-Tactical Generator and Rail Center (DGRC), command and control, transferred to another command--U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) in Warren, Michigan. In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, the Department of Defense recommended realigning Sierra Army Depot, California, by relocating Storage to Tooele Army Depot. Capacity and capability for storage existed at  numerous munitions sites. To reduce redundancy and remove excess from the Industrial Base, the realignment would allow the Department of Defense to create centers of excellence and remove inefficiencies.  On March 1, 2010, TEAD was designated as a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for Ammunition Peculiar Equipment by the Secretary of the Army.

During a special U.S. Army ceremony, Deseret Chemical Depot was formally closed July 11, 2014. U.S. Army officials called it a transfer of property, taking Deseret Chemical Depot's 19,000-plus acres and transferring them to Tooele Army Depot.

The depot is currently the Department of Defense’s western region conventional ammunition hub for the storage, receipt, issue, maintenance, and demilitarization. It is also the center for the design, manufacture, fielding and maintenance of all Ammunition Peculiar Equipment (APE). The workforce at the post is now primarily composed of civilians. A full colonel serves as the commander. As of June 2018, Colonel Todd W. Burnley is the depot commander.

Images

The Storage at Tooele Army Depot
The Storage at Tooele Army Depot Source: "Tooele Army Depot P.03." 1942-1963. 00273; Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection. Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6cc2fcs.
Women at the Tooele Army Depot
Women at the Tooele Army Depot Source: "Tooele Army Depot P. 15." 1946. 00285; Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Colelction. Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6tf1c1t. 
Maintenance and Repair at the Tooele Army Depot
Maintenance and Repair at the Tooele Army Depot Source: "Toeele Army Depot P. 11." 1946. 00281; Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection. Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6bc5d5h.
The Layout of Tooele Army Depot
The Layout of Tooele Army Depot Source: "Tooele Army Depot -- Housing Area P.01." 1942-1963. 00288; Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection. Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s64t801h.

Location

Metadata

Tyrome Heath, Weber State University, “Tooele Army Depot,” Intermountain Histories, accessed May 20, 2024, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/678.